Feb 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House Oversight opens probe into Trump's handling of White House records

Picture of Donald Trump
Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee announced Thursday that it will start an investigation into former President Trump's handling of presidential records after the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes from his Mar-a-Lago residence.

Driving the news: The move comes one day after the National Archives and Records Administration reportedly asked the Justice Department to investigate the matter.

Catch up fast: NARA last month recovered 15 boxes containing information from Trump's time at the White House that he took to Mar-a-Lago instead of handing over to the agency.

  • NARA said also that Trump representatives have informed the agency that "they are continuing to search for additional presidential records that belong to the National Archives."

State of play: Trump's handling of presidential records has come under fire in recent weeks.

  • Staff in the White House residence periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet during Trump's time there, per Maggie Haberman in her forthcoming book, "Confidence Man."
  • While in office, the former president blithely flouted the Presidential Records Act, which required him to preserve written communications concerning his official duties, Axios' Mike Allen reports.

What they're saying: "I am deeply concerned that these records were not provided to NARA promptly at the end of the Trump Administration and that they appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act," said House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) in a letter to U.S. archivist David Ferriero.

  • "I am also concerned by recent reports that while in office, President Trump repeatedly attempted to destroy presidential records, which could constitute additional serious violations of the PRA."
  • "Removing or concealing government records is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison."

Details: Maloney asked Ferriero to provide "a detailed description" of what's contained in the boxes, as well as what records Trump might have destroyed, and if NARA has conducted an inventory of the contents.

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